Karl has been a freelance writer for over 10 years. He's passionate about music, art, and writing!
Glitch of Consciousness is the latest album from NOBANDWIDTH — a musical project created by cybersecurity expert Beau Bullock. It combines powerful guitar work, driving drums and intricately interwoven synths to create what Bullock describes as “music to hack to.” The mixture of technological soundscapes, ferocious energy and a sense of aggressive movement make that description quite apt.
Before everything else, I have to mention Beau Bullock’s guitar work. It has power, drive and shredding intricacy as he solos with wild abandon and adds growling weight and depth to the background of the songs when the guitar isn’t carrying the main melodies. One major reason for the energy of this album is his guitar chops and ability to create emotion with them.
There’s a level of complexity and a feeling of intertwining interaction between the various layers of synth sound on Glitch of Consciousness that keeps my ear drawn in. It manages to stay just on the right side of “too much” by ensuring that the parts remain clear and distinct while still producing a sensation of many detailed moving parts all creating a sonic tapestry.
Another aspect of this album that I find compelling is the sheer aggression of it from the deep bass to the growling grit of the guitar and the rapid, powerful drumming that launches the tracks forward with a feeling of hard-edged energy. It definitely creates a soundscape that can propel one forward and keep the energy levels high.
My Favourite Tracks Analyzed
“Glitch of Consciousness” begins with a quick rush of computerized sounds and a slow, wandering pattern of high synth with swirling, twisting sounds moving underneath of it. A strong, rough-edged bass pulse and a repeating high line of bouncing synth are now joined by the smooth drumbeat. There's a whirling pattern of synth that spins out in arpeggiating patterns over the other musical elements, along with rising flashes of synth that grow in intensity.
The drums accelerate again and a minor, tense pattern of synth winds and wriggles out over the hard-edged bass pulses. My ears like the slowly shifting line of medium-high, keyboard notes that call out in a melodic line holding triumph and tension.
The arpeggios all intertwine and spin over the drum throb. The guitar cries out, a wild howl of leaping energy, over the steady pulsation of the drums underneath. This is a solo that is full of energy as it twirls through the track in intricate lines and the drums drive on hard.
A sharp pulse of synth opens “Command and Control” buzzing along as it starts to play a repeating, cascading pattern of harsh notes while the drums batter behind them. Beau Bullock’s guitar charges onwards with an edgy growl, a steady repeating line rising and falling, as it rocks hard in a driving pattern.
Softer, smoother synths sweep around and over it, feeling much more ethereal than the grit of the driving guitar. There’s a chip tune quality to the lead synth as a classically influenced, repeating arpeggio dances out over the music. All of the sonic elements cascade and now the guitar snarls out in a dense pattern with rising synth notes climbing under it.
The climbing arpeggio on the chip-like lead stutters and flutters as the guitar keeps up its powerful charge and the drums thunder hard. I enjoy the freewheeling, energetic solo that howls out on the guitar, flying through the track with shredding energy as it goes wild over the insistently driving energy under it, soaring upwards as the track closes on that hard rocking crescendo.
“Kill the Process” starts with quickly spinning, muffled arpeggios that grow into full power and bright strength as they leap and dance over the charging guitar and drums. The lead synth bounces and leaps along as the guitar and drums ram the track forward. The quick, bright line of chip sound makes itself felt as rising synth notes under it buoy it up while the drums and guitar add weight and more energy to the track.
The guitar charge continues unabated as the drums match it before the complex, shredding and wandering lead moves out over the grit and power underneath it in a compelling way. The track breaks into a half time section with chugging guitar and the slower, but still powerful drums throbbing along behind it.
The lead synth makes wild leaps over the slower, broken pulses of the guitar and drums below it, yearning higher and higher over the guitar thunder and again the beat accelerates and a synth solo full of wheeling energy flies out.
A high whistling sound, harsh bursts of edgy synth and a medium-high, minor key and Baroque sounding lead kick off "Session Expired.” Those elements are now joined by a breaking thudding drum part and harsh waves of synth as Beau Bullock’s guitar explodes in growling pulses while the synths flare up around it. There’s a slow, rising series of arpeggiating patterns of synth that add tension to the track before the guitar begins a rhythmic pattern matched by the thundering drums.
There’s a brief break to edgy synth and slamming drums before the guitar solo cries out with shredding intricacy. There’s a return to the “A” section as the drums drive hard and propel the track onward before breaking to dark, harsh pulses of sound. A high, chiming lead carries a minor key, wandering line with the guitars and drums growling and charging on under it.
“Simulated Sentience” comes into being with slow piano notes that move into open space along with a reverberating high synth. The piano notes rise up as the drums add shape and a throb to the track as high, flowing synth sounds shift around it. I like the dreaming quality of keyboard moving over the drums.
A synth with xylophone-like qualities plays a slightly wandering pattern of melodic notes over the drum throb and power. The delicate minor key piano melody slips over the weight below it. The piano has a light touch as bursts of round, hollow synth move through in a melodic line that melts into a free wheeling pattern of xylophone notes again as the drum throb is maintained.
Full, computerized synth pulses are joined by a shifting bass line, chiming sounds and a steady kick drum to open “Fatal Error Occurred.” Rising, moving synth chords with a shadowed quality join an arpeggiating pattern of keyboard notes before the guitar adds its powerful energy. I am drawn to the soaring, emotive howl of that guitar as it’s doubled chip tune line.
Beau Bullock plays an aggressive melody on the guitar as all the elements of the track interlock A dramatic guitar solo keeps up the powerful emotions as the drums throb and thud. There’s a return to chiming, metallic synths playing a steady pattern before the shadowed passion of the guitar moves in again.
Another blazing guitar solo drifts and brims with a sense of passionate engagement with the music, this track shows off Beau Bullock's skill on the guitar as he imbues it with darkness, power and expression as again we return to throbbing drums and the dark pattern of synths rising and falling before once again the guitar’s voice slices into the song.
“Gungnir” is brought into life by a dense, computerized synth as it plays a medium high repeating pattern that turns into a limping pulse matched by the drums. A higher synth flows through, calling out in a distorting pattern, before a rippling minor arpeggio keeps up a steady movement into the music.
The guitar’s depth and power chugs out underneath the driving beat and the high synth plays a mysterious, mystical line that I find compelling. while all that depth and weight moves. The guitar cries out in an uplifting, roaming melody over the shifting pulse of shadowy synth arcing and moving underneath it.
Glitch of Consciousness is an album that is all about rich tapestries of aggressive sound and blazing, complex guitar and synth parts with interesting interactions between musical elements. Beau Bullock manages to create a sound that kept me listening and engaged, ready to take on the world!